Apr 11 Update: Energy Masters
Masters, Frozen Four and Hockey Playoffs. Can't get much better than that – and no worries about a shut down -- only Rory's meltdown. The Masters ended in disappointment for 21-year old Rory McIroy, but in a flurry of birdies from others including Tiger made for a great Sunday. In the end, four straight birdies from an unknown South African gave him the Green Jacket 50 years to the day fellow countryman Gary Player was the first non-American ever to win at Augusta. Minnesota-Duluth (or Dalute) took home its first NCAA national title in 50 years of hockey, slipping past Michigan in overtime in an exciting, well-played game. (If you get a chance, check out the awesome snow angel celebration by UM-D's Kyle Schmidt who scored the game winner.) Finally, the NHL's Second Season begins. Just as it did last year, the playoff picture was not final until the 1230th game of the season was complete. Dallas lost to spoiler Minnesota to back the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks into the final spot. Earlier in the day, the Blackhawks had their own chance to lock a playoff spot but lost to Detroit. Anyway, can't wait until Wednesday…as they say: Game On!
Back to the political scene. Sneaking in under Friday night's midnight deadline, the White House and Congressional leaders reached an 11th-hour agreement to avoid the first government shutdown since 1995 while cutting billions of dollars in spending. No waiver blocking EPA ended up in the mix over the weekend, but expect that it will be revisited on future upcoming skirmishes over the FY 2012 budget and debt ceiling.
Lots of action on the natural gas hydraulic refracturing front this week. Already, we've seen previews of a new study expected Thursday by long-time gas opponent at Cornell Robert Howarth that says natural gas drilling actually has more emissions than thought. Certainly, that remains a highly-contested notion. Also Senate Environment hits the natural gas issue tomorrow and House Science looks at the technology issues on Thursday. And the big guns are coming out on Wednesday at Senate Environment when it holds the long-awaited knockdown, drag out brawl over ethanol.
With next week being the one-year anniversary of the Gulf oil spill, the Interior Department holds a day-long ministerial symposium on Thursday to discuss how to strengthen capabilities for containing potential deepwater blowouts of oil and gas wells and how to develop global solutions for offshore containment technologies. It will feature a presentation from our friend Owen Kratz, CEO of Helix Energy Solutions. And don't hesitate to call if you are contemplating your one-year spill coverage. We can help with plenty of options that include great experts, helicopters, ships, drilling rigs and lots of other cool stuff.
Remember, on Thursday, I will be hosting the first in a series of the National Press Club Newsmakers on the future of nuclear power and the Japanese crisis. We're coming out the box strong with an All-Star panel that features RFF President and Blue Ribbon Commission member Phil Sharp, financial energy analyst Kevin Book and Greenpeace nuclear expert Jim Riccio. Please help me get a big turnout as this will be a great opportunity to ask real experts about the issues surrounding the future of nuclear power.
Finally, next week on Tuesday, the Supreme Court of the United States will hear arguments in the AEP v. Connecticut to decide whether states and private parties can sue power companies under federal common law for contributing to global warming. The case was originally brought in 2004 by various states, New York City and several land trusts arguing that utilities were creating a public nuisance because they were emitting greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. So mark your calendars and keep us as a resource as we will have numerous experts available to discuss the case.
As usual, we are fully prepared to address each of these issues with fabulous quotes, in-depth research and substantive background. Please call with questions. Remember to get your taxes in this week if you haven't already. They are due by next Monday and the Government needs the money…
C. (202) 997-5932
IN THE NEWS
House Passes EPA Restrictions – The House of Representatives passed a bill to strip the EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gases by a vote of 255-172. Proposed by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), 236 Republicans voted yes on the bill, surprisingly as did 19 Democrats. Many of use thought perhaps 15 was the high number, but never underestimate the power of voter politics. The House also rejected a number of amendments that would preserve various pieces of EPA's authority and accused Republicans of ignoring the science related to climate change.
Senate Falls Short of Passage – The day prior, the U.S. Senate rejected legislation proposed by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) which would strip the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to regulate greenhouse gases (GHGs) under the Clean Air Act (CAA). The amendment, which was attached to an unrelated small business bill, received 50 votes but needed 60 votes to pass. Only one Republican, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), voted against it, whereas four Democrats, Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Mark Pryor (D-AK), voted for it. In addition to McConnell’s amendment, the Senate also rejected three more restrictive EPA amendments that were offered to the small-business bill. An amendment proposed by Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), which was aimed at exempting agriculture and small businesses from GHG regulations, was defeated by a vote of 7-93. An amendment proposed by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) aimed to postpone the EPA’s authority to regulate GHGs for two years and was defeated 12-88. Lastly, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) proposed an amendment combining the prior two efforts that was defeated 7-93.
What Does It Mean? – From the House's perspective it means they will just continue to pass what they want, very much the way they did in 2004-2005 when they stacked Energy Legislation at the Senate's door. From the Senate perspective, it is a little murkier as clearly they didn't have enough votes to win. More problematic for Democrats and the White House remains the fact that 64 senators voted against EPA's ability to regulate GHGs. Perhaps the biggest loser in this effort was the "delay" strategy. In the end, the handful of Democrat Senators looking for political cover really didn't get much. Sen. Rockefeller would have done better to insist on a vote last year when he may have had a chance to win.
Moves to the Budget Battle – Even though the budget legislation settled out over the weekend, expect the efforts to include riders on EPA authority to continue to emerge given the strong showing. We know there are three “must-pass” bills that could force the issue: the debt ceiling increase later this month; a standalone fiscal 2012 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies approps bill; and a fiscal 2012 omnibus approps package that includes EPA (and Defense) funding.
WV Wind Project Starts Construction – US Wind Force and Edison Mission Energy today announced the start of construction of the 23-turbine Pinnacle Wind Farm at NewPage that will be built on Green Mountain near Keyser, W.Va. When completed later this year, the wind farm will generate approximately 55 megawatts of electricity, enough power for over 14,000 households. Pinnacle was jointly developed by US Wind Force and Edison, which has acquired and now will build the project. The project represents a total investment of approximately $130 million and will become one of Mineral County's largest taxpayers with property tax payments of approximately $10.7 million over the next 25 years. The project has also established a Community Benefit Fund that will provide locally-controlled financial resources for worthy community projects. “This project has come this far thanks to the partnership with the community," said David Friend, Chairman and CEO of US Wind Force. "We appreciate the community’s broad support for the project.” All of the electricity produced by Pinnacle will be sold under 20-year agreements with the University of Maryland System and the Maryland Department of General Services. NewPage Corporation, the largest coated paper manufacturer in North America, based on production capacity, partnered with US Wind Force on this project. Six of the turbines will be located on NewPage property near the company’s Luke, Md., facility. As part of the project planning, US Wind Force established a Community Advisory Panel (CAP) to create an ongoing dialogue with community members from Keyser, New Creek, Piedmont, and Elk Garden. Members meet regularly to discuss the project and its progress. In addition to meeting with CAP members, US Wind Force has met frequently with local civic and service organizations in Mineral County and has conducted a number of project open houses.
AWEA Says Wind Growth Strong Despite Slow Economy – Speaking of new construction, America’s wind power industry grew by 15% in 2010 and provided 26% of all new electric generating capacity in the United States, according to the latest U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report. With the 5,116 MW added last year, U.S. wind installations now stand at 40,181 MW, enough to supply electricity for over 10 million American homes. The statistics from the AWEA were released in conjunction with the AWEA Wind Power Finance and Investment Workshop at New York City’s Crowne Plaza Hotel in Times Square. They reveal that wind continues to be an important player in the nation’s energy sector, with lower costs and only behind natural gas in new generation capacity. In addition to wind power’s increased affordability, the 1603 investment tax credit program contributed to new project starts in 2010. On top of new construction starts, 2010 saw new manufacturing as well. A virtuous cycle was in play—manufacturers continued to respond to the demand and set up shop in the U.S. The industry brought 14 new manufacturing facilities online, consistent with 2009.
Hayes Says Expect Offshore Wind Leases Next Year – Interior Deputy Secretary David Hayes said Friday that Interior is moving forward with its environmental analysis of wind energy areas off the Atlantic Coast and expects to have a competitive lease sale by the end of the year, reports our friend Phil Taylor at Greenwire. Hayes said both industry and Federal agencies have also expressed "enormous interest and excitement in the process and could lead to the 10,000 megawatts of wind energy potential Interior believes is available off the coasts.
Poll Shows 90% of Americans Refining is Important – Take this one enviro pollsters: A poll released today shows that 90% of Americans believe the nation’s petroleum refineries and petrochemical manufacturing plants are among America’s “most important” or “important” industries. The research, done by Opinion Research Corporation for our friends at NPRA, said only 5 percent of those surveyed said the refining and petrochemical sectors were “not among the country’s important industries” and the remaining 5 percent said they did not know. When asked what they associated with the refining and petrochemical sectors, and allowed to give multiple responses, those polled listed: oil, gas or fuel (76 percent); critical to America’s competiveness (67 percent); manufacturing (64 percent); science and high tech (62 percent); and keystone to other U.S. industries (57 percent). This works out just about as well as much of the polling our friends in the environmental community do. Next up: determining hw many people think electricity is important. By the way, who are the 5% that think the refining sector are not important?
Activist Wins Goldman Prize – Activist Hilton Kelley has been awarded this year's prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize, considered the "Nobel prize for environmental activism," for his landmark environmental justice work to improve air quality in Port Arthur, TX. Over the last decade, Kelley has worked to educate and empower residents of his community and reduce emissions from the eight major petrochemical and hazardous waste facilities in the area. Born and raised on the west side of Port Arthur, Hilton Kelley returned to his hometown after a successful 21-year career in Hollywood to find his community ravaged by air pollution, crime and poverty. To combat their social and economic problems, Kelley established the Community In-powerment Development Association (CIDA) and began training local residents to monitor air quality. Known more for his ability to find common ground even with industries, Kelley negotiated a now-famous “good neighbor” agreement that provided health coverage for the residents of the west side for three years and established a $3.5 million fund to help entrepreneurs launch new businesses in the community.
THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK:
Salazar Speaks at GW – The George Washington University Solar Institute hosted Interior Secretary Ken Salazar today at 1:00 p.m. in GWU's Jack Morton Auditorium. Secretary Salazar discussed President Obama’s plan for America’s energy security and the role the Department of the Interior is playing in this national strategy. In addition to undertaking a major overhaul of the nation’s offshore oil and gas regulatory system, Salazar has spurred the development of clean energy alternatives, including the first commercial scale solar energy projects on public lands in the West and launching historic offshore wind turbine development off the Atlantic Coast. As part of the effort to promote safe development of offshore oil and gas resources, Interior is conducting an intensive recruitment campaign to hire engineering and science graduates to join the expanded offshore oil and gas regulatory program to strengthen inspections, permitting and enforcement.
Senate Energy Clean Energy Standard White Paper Deadline – The Senate Energy's CES deadline is today at 5:00 p.m. Rumor has it that lots of paper is flowing into the committee.
Trans-Elect's Mitchell to Headline Offshore Wind Conference – The 4th annual North American Offshore Wind Development & Finance Summit will be held in Washington, DC at the Almas Temple Club on today through Thursday. The event will focus on the emergence of technologies that will enable wind farms in the deeper waters prevalent in many regions of North America, as well as the tangible progress being made in testing and commercializing designs. The Summit will once again bring leading developers together with the policymakers, equipment vendors, vessel providers, engineering firms and utility customers needed to complete offshore wind projects. Trans-Elect's Bob Mitchell will make a special address and lead a list of more than 60 speakers. Mitchell is leading Trans-Elect's effort to develop the Atlantic Wind Connection, a visionary and transformative subsea transmission backbone designed to enable offshore wind energy development in the Mid-Atlantic region. Recently, Trans-Elect was named EnergyBiz's 2011 Energy Company of the Year."
FERC's Norris, Marubeni Exec Headline Platts Conference – Platts will hold its 26th annual Global Power Markets Conference today and tomorrow at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. It is the seminal gathering place for power industry leaders that explores the issues crucial to the development of electric power markets worldwide. Among the speakers this year will be FERC Commissioner John Norris, CFTC Commissioner Bart Chilton, EPSA President John Shelk and our friend Richard Straebel of Marubeni Power, an AWC partner.
Energy Transformation Symposium Set – The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy and the Consortium for Energy Efficiency, with support from the US EPA/DOE ENERGY STAR Programs, are hosting the 15th annual National Symposium on Market Transformation "Transitions and Transformation" at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel today and tomorrow. For over a decade, the National Symposium on Market Transformation has brought together policy makers, program planners, implementers and evaluators, as well as manufacturers and trade allies to discuss the latest progress in the field of market transformation. Since the inaugural workshop in 1997, we've witnessed considerable growth and change within the field of market transformation in response to shifts in the economic, political, and regulatory climate for energy efficiency programs and services. The Symposium seeks to address opportunities and challenges within the field with a stimulating program covering the latest hot topics, updates on current program approaches, new strategies for program design, integration of multiple program objectives, and evaluation methodologies. Over the past several years we’ve seen many shifts in the dominant market forces that drive and hinder improvements in energy efficiency: a struggling economy, the rise and fall of climate legislation, rapid technology development, and a growing awareness of the potential for energy efficiency to help meet our economic and environmental goals. All of these forces, both positive and negative, highlight an important strategic need for the efficiency community: to look beyond short term opportunities and toward sustainable, long term business practices. The 2011 National Symposium on Market Transformation will examine the major transitions taking place across many sectors of the field of energy efficiency. During the plenary session, 6 concurrent sessions, and 20 working sessions, presenters and participants will discuss how we can work together to both drive these changes, respond to emerging challenges, and make the most of opportunities as they unfold.
IPAA NY Forum Set to Look at Investment Community – The Independent Petroleum Assn of American (IPAA) will hold its Oil & Gas Investment Symposium New York (OGIS New York) at the Sheraton NY Hotel & Towers today, tomorrow and Wednesday. It has become the premier outlet for publicly traded independent exploration and production, service and supply and MLP companies to present their company profiles to the investment community. Last year's OGIS New York attracted over 1,600 attendees, including more than 800 buy/sell-side analysts. With everything going on in the oil/gas industry over the past year, this might be an event to watch.
Kerry, Bingaman Lead New Republic Energy Forum – The New Republic will host a strategic discussion of the immediate future of environmental policy in the context of the economic recovery tomorrow morning at the National Press Club's Ballroom. Participants will also address U.S. nuclear policy and energy security in the aftermath of the crisis in Japan. Featured speakers include CEQ Chair Nancy Sutley, Senator John Kerry, Senate Energy Chair Jeff Bingaman, Boyden Gray, Former White House Counsel and Former Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy Diplomacy and Charles Ebinger of the Brookings Institution.
NRDC to Preview Gulf Spill Film – The Natural Resources Defense Council will host a special screening of "Stories from the Gulf: Living with the Oil Disaster" tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. The 22-minute film will make its worldwide debut on Discovery Communications' Planet Green on April 23. At Tuesday's sneak preview, you will also have the opportunity to meet and speak with Gulf residents who are still reeling from the disaster. Frances Beinecke, NRDC president & member of the national oil spill commission will host Ryan Lambert, president of Cajun Fishing Adventures and vice-president of the Louisiana Charter Boat Association and Kindra Arnesen, commercial fisherwoman turned community activist after the BP Gulf oil disaster.
Cape Wind Featured at USEA Forum – The United States Energy Association will host a forum on offshore wind featuring Mark Rodgers of Cape Wind tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. Cape Wind is the first utility-scale offshore wind farm to be proposed in the United States. A 420-MW facility off the coast of Cape Cod, MA, Cape Wind predicts that the project will offset roughly 734,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually, providing up to 75% of the Cape & Islands' electricity needs and stimulating jobs in the offshore wind and ancillary services sector. Cape Wind has been met with opposition at every step in its development process, encountering numerous permitting delays that at times threatened the wind farm's construction prospects. Rodgers, Director of Communications for Cape Wind, will present a Cape Wind status update and will address such issues as the technology, siting, permitting and community relations aspects of America's first offshore wind farm.
Brattle Expert Highlights Smart Grid at JHU – The Johns Hopkins University Energy, Resources and Environment Program and SAIS Energy Club will host a forum on smart grid technologies featuring our friend Peter Fox-Penner tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. in the Rome building. Fox-Penner is a former undersecretary of Energy and currently principal and chairman emeritus of the Brattle Group. He recently authored the paper, "Smart Power: Climate Change, the Smart Grid and the Future of Electric Utilities," will discuss everything you always wanted to know about the smart grid.
Senate Environment to Address NatGas, Nuclear, Renewable Fuels – Tomorrow will be a busy day for panels on the Senate Environment Committee. At 10:00 a.m., the Water and Wildlife Subcommittee target natural gas drilling and public health, while at 2:45 p.m., the Clean Air and Nuclear Safety panel will host EPA's Lisa Jackson and NRC Greg Jaczko for a hearing on the Fukushima Daiichi disaster and U.S. energy implications. Other panelists include Exelon's Charles G. Pardee, NRDC's Tom Cochran, California State Senator Sam Blakeslee, California Energy Commission Vice Chair James Boyd, Delaware Department of Safety & Homeland Security Secretary Lewis Schiliro and Curt Sommerhoff of the Miami-Dade County Department of Emergency Management. Witnesses for the 10:00 a.m. panel include EPA's Robert Perciasepe, Maryland Department of the Environment Acting Secretary Robert Summers, Oklahoma Corporation Commission Vice Chairman Jeff Cloud, Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Director David Neslin and opponents Conrad Volz of the Center for Healthy Environments & Communities, Jack Ubinger of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council.
Lott, Dorgan to Lead new BPC Effort – The Bipartisan Policy Center will announcement its new Energy Project led by Senator Byron Dorgan and Senator Trent Lott, General Jim Jones (ret.) and Bill Reilly tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. at 1225 "Eye" Street, NW. Following the announcement, the Leaders will engage in a discussion on a new era of energy security moderated by Daniel Yergin.
Forum to Address Geoengineering Risks – The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the American Meteorological Society (AMS) will host a forum tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. in 1334 Longworth on the risk management potential of Geoengineering the climate. The event is part of the AMS Climate Briefing Series which is made possible, in part, by a grant from the National Science Foundation’s Paleoclimate Program. Speakers will include Stanford University climate scientist Ken Caldeira and University of Calgary's David Keith.
Bluewater Head to Address Yale Group – Peter Mandelstam, Founder and President of Bluewater Wind will deliver a lecture at the Yale's Center for Environmental Law and Policy tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. in Kroon Hall's Burke Auditorium in New Haven. Mandelstam is expected to discuss offshore wind and it future role in reducing climate emissions
NBC, GWU to Host Changing Planet Event – NBC News in partnership with the National Science Foundation, DISCOVER Magazine and The George Washington University will host a taping of "CHANGING PLANET: Clean Energy and Green Jobs" hosted by our friend Anne Thompson, NBC News chief environmental affairs correspondent. The event will be in the Jack Morton Auditorium at 5:45 p.m. The State of the Earth has sparked an international conversation about climate, energy and the world economy. This unique town hall meeting will explore the relationship between clean energy, green jobs and global competition. Other speakers include Apollo Alliance's Chris Busch, Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins of Green for All, Tim Juliani at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change and Ken Zweibel, director of GW's Solar Institute.
Forum to Look at EPA Impacts – SNL Financial will hold a webinar tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. to look at the electric utility sector as it braces for major policy initiatives being moved by the Environmental Protection Agency. EPA is proposing new rules that will have a major impact on the industry, including the Maximum Achievable Control Technology for utilities (MACT) rule, mercury, arsenic and certain other emissions standards for coal-fired and oil-fired electric generating units and a rule addressing structures at power plants that draw in water for cooling. MACT will require a plant-by-plant standard for various hazardous air pollutants and is scheduled to be finalized in November. The Cooling Water Intake Structure standards, or CWIS, are designed to protect fish and other aquatic life and will impact roughly 60% of U.S. nuclear plants and hundreds of coal-fired stations. The so-called Clean Air Mercury Rule will impact around 1,200 coal-fired units and 150 oil-fired units and the national annual cost of complying with the proposed rule is estimated to be $10.9 billion in 2016. In addition, the EPA proposed the Clean Air Transport Rule in July 2010, which is scheduled to be finalized in June and take effect in 2012. The transport rule applies to large generators in 31 states and the District of Columbia. It replaces the 2005 Clean Air Interstate Rule and regulates SO2 and NOx. A panel of experts will discuss how these EPA policies may have implications for short- and long-term generation planning and generation strategy. Panelists include our friend Bryan Hannegan of EPRI, former assistant Energy Secretary who has downplayed the impacts Sue Tierney and former NY Gov George Pataki Chief of Staff John Cahill.
Vilsack Heads All-Star Cast on Ethanol at Senate Environment – The big guns really are coming out on ethanol on Wednesday when the full Senate Environment Committee holds the long-awaited knockdown, drag out brawl over ethanol. The oversight hearing at 10:00 a.m. will look at domestic renewable fuels from ethanol to advanced biofuels and feature an all-star cast of experts including Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, EPA Air Administrator Gina McCarthy, DOE's Henry Kelly, our friend Michael McAdams of the Advanced Biofuels Association, DuPont's Jan Koninckx, Kris Kiser of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, Grocery Manufacturers Association's Scott Faber and Brooke Coleman of the Advanced Ethanol Council.
Resources to Mark up Drilling Legislation – The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a markup on the trio of offshore drilling bills introduced by its Chairman Doc Hastings. The legislation aims to speed up drilling by setting specific deadlines for permits, open waters off Southern California and much of the Atlantic Coast to drilling and force quicker action on lease sales off Virginia and in the western Gulf. With gas prices increasing another 19-cents the past two weeks and crude prices around $113/barrel, the political fight over who is responsible continues to take shape.
House Science to Look at Jobs, Natural Gas Drilling Technologies – The House Science Committee's Investigations and Oversight panel will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. to look at green jobs and red tape, assessing Federal efforts to encourage employment. Then Thursday at 10:00 a.m., the full committee handles technologies questions surrounding the issue of drilling.
NOAA's Lubchenco Heads to Senate Commerce – On Wednesday at 2:30 p.m., Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee's Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the president's FY2012 proposed budget request and oversight for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Administrator Jane Lubchenco will testify.
Natural Gas Vehicles Take the Hill – the Natural Gas vehicle industry will be hosting a ride and drive on Capitol Hill on Wednesday morning in front of the National Museum of the American Indian at 300 Maryland Ave SW. With gasoline prices on the rise again, a wide variety of natural gas-powered vehicles (NGVs) from around the country will be on hand to highlight the great potential of clean, American natural gas as a viable, affordable vehicle fuel. Speakers will include members of Congress and T. Boone Pickens.
House Energy to Take on Drilling, Coal Ash, MACT – The House Energy and Commerce Committee has another busy week starting on Wednesday with an Energy and Power panel hearing on legislation that would speed expedite Clean Air Act permitting for offshore drilling operations, as well as limiting environmental groups' ability to tie them up in court. Shell has been caught up in a giant fight of this nature in Alaska. On Thursday, the Environment and Economy panel will hold a hearing to focus on federal regulations on coal ash and other waste products from coal-fired power plants. EPA is considering two options for the rules: one preferred by environmental groups that would regulate ash as a hazardous waste and set binding standards for its disposal, and another industry-backed option that would declare ash non-hazardous, giving states more leeway in setting their own disposal standards. Of course, the issues was supposed to be settled long ago, but EPA hasn't been able to figure out how to get out of the terrible mess of ruining a number of industries that use or recycle coal ash as a bi-product. Finally, on Friday, Energy and Power will take on EPA's air quality regulations for industrial boilers, power plants and cement manufactures, which also has been a huge thorn in both industry and EPA's side. Our expert Lisa Jaeger (202-828-5844) is on the case if you need info.
ELI to Look at Upcoming SCOTUS Climate Case – Environmental Law Institute will hold a seminar on Wednesday at Noon to look at on the next landmark Supreme Court climate case. In what many are calling the most important environmental case since Massachusetts v. EPA, on April 19 the Supreme Court will hear arguments to decide whether states and private parties can sue power companies under federal common law for contributing to global warming and compel them to cap CO2 emissions. The case “American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut” was originally brought in 2004 by various states, New York City and several land trusts against certain utilities, arguing that the utilities were creating a public nuisance because they were emitting greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Though three other similar cases have been brought around the country, none has yet made it to trial--and AEP is the first to reach the Supreme Court. Significant developments include: the recusal of Justice Sonya Sotomayor; an Obama administration brief filed on behalf of the Tennessee Valley Authority that sides with industry; and a brief by G.O.P. lawmakers saying that the case involves political and public policy matters that should be left to the legislative and executive branches of the government to address. Environmentalists point out that, to date, there is little to indicate that the other branches of government are taking meaningful action to limit greenhouse gas emissions. A high-level panel will discuss and debate the major issues at play and the likely outcome of the case, including the critical questions of constitutional standing and application of the "political question doctrine," as well as whether a federal common law cause of action to cap climate emissions exists -- and, if so, whether EPA’s actions to date on climate change have effectively displaced it. Panelists include Richard Bress of Latham & Watkins, Eric Glitzenstein of Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal, Widener University Law professor James May and David Rivkin of Baker & Hostetler.
Conservative Groups Target Loan Guarantees – Taxpayers for Common Sense, National Taxpayers Union, the Heritage Foundation, and the Competitive Enterprise Institute will hold a discussion on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. in 441 Cannon looking at the impacts of federal energy loan guarantees on the federal budget and energy markets. President Obama's FY2012 budget request includes a $36 billion increase in the loan guarantee program for nuclear projects along with $200 million in credit subsidy to support $1 billion to $2 billion in loan guarantees for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects and Congress must decide whether it is in the taxpayers' interest to continue to provide increased budget authority to the program. Opening remarks will come from Congressman Tom McClintock. Speakers will include Ryan Alexander of Taxpayers for Common Sense, Heritage's Jack Spencer, NTU's Andrew Moylan and CEI's Bill Yeatman.
Lugar, First Lady, Redford Headline NWF 75 Year Gala – On Wednesday evening, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) will hold their 75th anniversary gala at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill. Guests will include Sen. Dick Lugar, first lady Michelle Obama; Center for Environmental Education Founder Jayni Chase, actor Robert Redford, actress Gloria Reuben and NWF Naturalist Dave Mizejewski.
Interior to Hold Drilling Issues Symposium – The Interior Department will hold a forum to discuss how to strengthen capabilities for containing potential deepwater blowouts of oil and gas wells and how to develop global solutions for offshore containment technologies. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, along with ministers and senior government officials from Brazil, Mexico, Australia, the United Kingdom, Norway, Russia, Canada, India, Netherlands, Angola and the European Union will be present. Presentations will be made by containment expert Helix Energy Solutions CEO Owen Kratz, as well as other experts in offshore drilling and regulation, including Bill Reilly, Co-Chair of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, Don Winter, Chair of the Analysis of the Causes of the Deepwater Horizon Explosion, Fire and Oil Spill Committee, BP's James Dupree, Malcolm Webb of Oil & Gas UK and Ocean Energy Safety Advisory Committee Chair Thomas Hunter. Salazar, who met last week with Brazilian and Mexican officials to discuss cooperative efforts on safety in offshore energy development, said the Ministerial Forum discuss the development of cutting-edge technologies for containing potential deepwater well blowouts on the outer continental shelves as part of a commitment to reduce the risks associated with offshore drilling around the world.
Newsmakers to Look at Future of Nuclear Power, Japan Impacts – The National Press Club Newsmakers will hold the first in a series newsmakers on the future of nuclear power and Japanese crisis on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. in the Lisagor Room. I am hosting the event and we're coming out the box strong with an all-star panel that features RFF President and Blue Ribbon Commission member Phil Sharp, financial energy analyst Kevin Book and Greenpeace nuclear expert Jim Riccio. Future panels are expected on health issues and an industry perspective.
Forum to Look at PAH Issues – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute and Water Environment Federation will hold a briefing on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. in H-137, The Capitol featuring new national findings from the U.S. Geological Survey on increasing levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in urban lakes studied in 40 cities from Anchorage, Alaska, to Orlando, Florida. PAHs are widespread in the environment and are a significant environmental topic because several are probable human carcinogens, they are toxic to fish and other aquatic life, and their concentrations have been increasing in urban lakes in recent decades. The speaker for the event is USGS's Barbara Mahler. New USGS findings highlight major sources associated with the increasing PAHs. Findings show, for example, that coal-tar-based pavement sealant is a much larger source of PAHs to urban lakes than previously identified sources, such as vehicle emissions, used motor oil, and tire particles. Of course, much of Mahler's findings over the years have been widely-disputed and there is a whole other side of the story.
McCarthy, Sutley Headline Carbon Forum – Our friends at Point Carbon are hosting a forum in Los Angeles on Thursday and Friday called Navigating the American Carbon World (NACW) 2011 will feature experts and leaders in carbon policy and regulation. Speakers include EPA's Gina McCarthy, CEQ's Nancy Sutley, California Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Linda Adams and CARB Chair Mary Nichols.
Mass Gov. Deval Patrick to Hit Press Club – The National Press Club will host a luncheon with Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick on Thursday to discuss his memoirs. Expected discussion topic will include Cape Wind and the nasty fight over the project that the Governor supported.
ELI Forum to Investigate Gas Drilling Issues – Environmental Law Institute will hold a seminar on Thursday at Noon to look at the nuts and bolts of Marcellus Shale drilling and fracking. Abundant, inexpensive, and lower in emissions than traditional coal power sources, natural gas is expected to play an enormous role in our energy future. The economic, energy and environmental implications of natural gas are amplified by fast-moving legal developments, including many proposals for new studies, regulations and legislation. An expert panel will discuss these developments in Marcellus Shale, where the issues mirror those of other gas fields across the country, and stay tuned for our second installment on May 19, 2011, Policy Implications of Marcellus Shale Drilling and Fracking, where we will build on this discussion and talk about policy implications of Marcellus Shale drilling in a national energy context. The experts include Terry Bossert of Chief Oil & Gas, Sierra Club's Deborah Nardone, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Elizabeth Nolan.
Weather Service Director to Discuss Trends in Extreme Weather – The Renewable Natural Resources Foundation's next round table is Thursday at Noon at the American Meteorological Society and features Dr. Louis Uccellini, director of the National Weather Service, National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP). He will be discussing trends in extreme weather events. For decades, climate scientists have been predicting increases in the frequency and intensity of weather events resulting from climate change. Dr. Uccellini will discuss these trends and provide an update on the most recent scientific analysis of these phenomena.
Wilson Forum to Look at Free-Market Path to Electric Cars – The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will hold a forum on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center to look at electric cars. Speakers will include Manhattan Institute's Peter Huber, Senior Fellow and Kent Hughes of the Program on America and the Global Economy. Last month, Huber released a new report, “Broadband Electricity and the Free-Market Path to Electric Cars” that shows how the U.S. can meet President Obama’s target of putting one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. Huber’s analysis shows that instead of subsidizing technology that will up end up inside the car, investing in the nationwide electric grid is the best path to mobilizing a fleet of fully electric cars. He explains how grid-side development would create widely deployed, fast charging stations that can be used by many vehicles and in turn would create jobs, transform infrastructure, and unlock trillions of idle investment dollars.
Thad Allen to Headline Call on Gulf Spill Anniversary – On Friday, our friends at the Pew Environment Group will host a phone briefing to look at the one year anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill that occurred on April 20. During this call, experts will look back on the economic and environmental impacts of this spill, as well as the recommendations of the Oil Spill Commission and then will discuss what steps are still needed on offshore energy reform. Speakers will include Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen (Ret.), Spill Commission member Fran Ulmer, Senate Energy's Bob Simon and Marilyn Heiman, director of the Pew Environment Group’s U.S. Arctic program and offshore energy reform efforts. Dial-in: 1-800-311-9402, Password: oil spill
Cato Forum to Look at Transportation – The Cato Institute will host an event on Friday at Noon on America's transportation future in B-340 Rayburn. With Congress poised to pass a surface transportation reauthorization bill in 2011, America's transportation system is at a crossroads. Should we emphasize high-cost forms of transportation, such as light rail and high-speed rail, whose main goal is to get a few people out of their cars? Or should we find low-cost technologies that can increase personal mobility for everyone, regardless of their income? Panelists Alan Pisarski will discuss the future of urban commuting, Clyde Hart will describe the current and future state of intercity bus transportation, and Randal O'Toole will show how future automobile technologies will save more energy and relieve congestion at a lower cost than heavy investments in new infrastructure.
Gore to Speak at Energy Action Event – The Energy Action Coalition will holds its "Power Shift 2011" events at the Washington Convention Center from Friday to Monday. Highlights on Friday include 6:30 p.m. keynote remarks from former Vice President Al Gore and former White House adviser Van Jones.
THE WEEKS AHEAD:
Biofuels Conference to Highlight Issues – Biofuels Digest will host the Advanced Biofuels Leadership Conference on Monday-Thursday, April 18-21 at Capitol Hilton. Speakers include the top advanced biofuels CEOs, plus leadership from USDA, DOE, and EPA, financial markets and key end-users. At ABLC, networks are formed, relationships are developed, decisions are made. The Advanced Biofuels Leadership Conference brings together the leaders guiding the development of advanced biofuels - including cellulosic ethanol, renewable diesel, renewable gasoline, renewable jet fuel, biobutanol, as well as emerging feedstocks including algae, jatropha, camelina and more. The conference focuses on the key drivers for biofuels commercialization - processing technologies, finance, policy, and feedstocks - from those in a unique position to know. Those in a position to make a difference. Those who make decisions.
Supreme Court to Hear AEP v. CT Case – On Tuesday, April 19th, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) will hear arguments on the Connecticut v. AEP Case.
CSIS Forum to Focus on Spill Issues – The Center for Security and International Studies will host another event in its Energy and National Security Program on April 19th, 9:00 a.m. focused on the impacts of the Gulf oil spill. Keynote Speaker is Michael R. Bromwich, Director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement. It will also feature a panel with DOE's Christopher Smith, Shell's Charlie Williams, former CEO of Constellation Energy Mike Wallace, Senior Adviser, CSIS and J. Robinson West of PFC Energy.
Turner, T. Boone Debate Energy at Press Club – The National Press Club will host a luncheon debate on Tuesday, April 19th focusing on American energy policy. It will feature Ted Turner, chairman of Ted Turner Enterprises and CNN founder, and T. Boone Pickens, founder of BP Capitol, to debate. Pickens will outline his “Pickens Plan” to reduce America’s dependence on Middle East oil through alternate energy sources, such as wind, solar power, and natural gas. Turner will discuss renewable solar energy, including his recent solar projects in New Mexico and Atlanta, as well as nuclear disarmament and global politics. As usual, lunch will be served at 12:30 p.m. with the speeches beginning at 1 p.m.
Chu, LaHood Lead Electric Vehicle Conference – The Electric Drive Transportation Association is organizing the EDTA 2011 Conference & Annual Meeting at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Tuesday, April 19th through Thursday, April 21st. Now, more than ever, the electric drive industry is reaching milestones. Join to see where we're going, and what's on the road ahead. Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will speak as well as other leaders of the electric drive industry and renowned speakers, workshop sessions can be seen here.
GWU Prof to Look at Russian Permafrost Issues – The George Washington University's Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies will host a presentation on April 19th at 3:00 p.m. on the effects of climate change on Russian permafrost regions and their implications for socio-economic development. It also provides an overview of permafrost-related research conducted in GWU's Department of Geography. Nikolay Shiklomanov, an assistant professor of Geography at GWU, will present. His main area of research is the response of the Arctic environment to climatic variability and change. Many of the potential environmental and socio-economic impacts of global warming in the high northern latitudes are associated with permafrost, or perennially frozen ground, which occupy more than 50% of the land area of Russia. The approximately 5% of the population living in the Russian Arctic regions provide about 11% of the country's GDP mainly due to extraction of mineral resources. In Russia, 93% of natural gas and 75% of oil are produced in permafrost-affected areas. Overall, Russian permafrost regions contribute up to 70% of Russia's total exports. Major permafrost-related impacts of climate change have already been detected in many Russian regions. These include changes in the properties and distribution of permafrost. Such changes in natural systems affect the human environment and have direct and immediate implications for land use, the economy, and human life. They also threaten the normal functioning of communities and economic development.
Mid Atlantic Forum to Focus on Wind Issues in VA – The Mid-Atlantic Wind Energy Institute (MAWEI) is holding a Virginia wind energy forum on April 20th at the Roanoke Center for Higher Education. This educational forum will focus primarily on wind energy and its applications in the state of Virginia. MAWEI is a regional collaborative that provides resources and knowledge for promoting wind energy in the Mid-Atlantic region. MAWEI works within the states of Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia. Speakers will include our friends Bruce Burcat, Executive Director of the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition (MAREC), AWEA Manager of State Campaigns Brad Lystra, Somerset County, PA Board Secretary Jim Marker, VA DEQ's Carol Wampler, James Madison University's Jon Miles, Director and Invenergy's Don Giecek.
Wilson Forum to Look at Free-Market Path to Electric Cars – The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will hold a forum on Wednesday, April 20 at 3:00 p.m. in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center to look at carbon sequestration and forest issues. International climate change agreements emphasize sustaining carbon sequestration by global forests. At the same time, climate change and increased fire challenge the ability to sustainably manage those forests. The Earth's forests, and other terrestrial biomes, have been sequestering carbon and evolving with climate change and fire for ~420 million years of Earth history. Records from ice cores, tree rings, charcoal sediments and other paleo data sources show climate, carbon flux, and fire to be strongly correlated over geologic time. Humans have increasingly shaped global forest ecosystem evolution over the past 8,000 years, frequently through the use of fire. Maintaining the contribution of forests to global carbon cycles is one of seven criteria for Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) developed in accordance with 1992 Earth Summit guidance. Speakers will include Winrock International's Sandra Brown, USDA Forest Service's David Cleaves and George Mason University's William Sommers and Thomas Lovejoy.
Conference to Focus on Enviro Forecasting – The 18th Federal Forecasters Conference will be held on Thursday, April 21st at Bureau of Labor Statistics Conference and Training Center and will focus on issues in forecasting and the environment. Environmental issues have become an increasing priority for governments, businesses, and consumers. Challenges to forecasters include the implementation of programs and policies addressing efficiency, alternative energy sources, jobs, health, air and water quality, transportation, land use, and recycling programs. The 2011 Federal Forecasters Conference will examine how forecasters face these challenges and how policy-makers and other decision-makers use forecasts to make decisions.
Forum to Look a Chernobyl – Global Green USA will host a forum at the Embassy of Ukraine on Thursday, April 21st at 2:00 p.m. focusing on the lessons from Chernobyl 25 Years Later. Speakers will present information on the short- and long-term environmental and public health impacts of the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe. In addition, there will be presentations on how the lessons of Chernobyl affect energy and nonproliferation policies today and the challenges and risks of nuclear power. The event will include expert speakers and participants from a variety of relevant fields including nuclear engineering, environmental affairs, public health, arms control and nonproliferation, government, academia, private industry, and the NGO community.
Cato Forum to Focus on Green Jobs Claims – The Cato Institute will hold a forum on Thursday, April 21st at 4:00 p.m. to look at the false promise of green energy. Renewable energies such as wind, solar, and biomass, along with energy-efficiency initiatives like building retrofits - so-called "green energy" - are all the political rage in America today. Proponents contend that we are in the midst of a transformative green-energy revolution. The Obama administration goes so far as to argue that this new "green economy" will be one of the key building blocks for economic growth and global competitiveness in the 21st century and proposes production mandates and the expenditure of hundreds of billions of dollars to make it so. A new book entitled The False Promise of Green Energy (Cato, 2011) warns that the government's campaign to promote green energy is built upon a mountain of wishful thinking, misleading accounting, and bad economics. Andrew Morriss, one of the book's several co-authors, contends that the case for green energy has somehow managed to escape critical examination. Kate Gordon, on the other hand, argues that experiences at the state level and in other countries, as well as a number of reports and studies on the potential for job creation in the green economy, demonstrates that the political faith in green energy is well-founded. Speakers include coauthor Andrew Morriss, Professor of Law and Business, University of Alabama; with comments by Kate Gordon, Vice President for Energy Policy, Center for American Progress; moderated by Jerry Taylor, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute.
US FWS to Host Wind Turbine Guidelines Meeting – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will host a Wind Turbine Guidelines Advisory Committee meeting on April 27th from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The meeting will take place at 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Room 530, Arlington and is open to the public. The meeting agenda will include a presentation and discussion of the Service's Draft Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines. FWS recently released a draft of its voluntary guidelines for land-based wind energy project development in an effort to encourage responsible selection of project. Unfortunately, the FWS guidance deviates significantly from the consensus recommendations of a three-year stakeholder process. Among other problems with the guidance, it could delay construction of projects by up to three years. As well, it may require operating projects to retroactively conduct post-construction wildlife studies for a minimum of two and as much as five years, adding unforeseen costs to the operating budgets of these facilities. This meeting will feature the first real discussion among stakeholders of the Service's new guidelines.
WCEE Hosts FERC Lawyers – The Women's Council on Energy and the Environment will host a conversation with Christina Hayes, Legal and Policy Advisor to FERC Chairman Wellinghoff; Aileen Roder, Legal Advisor to FERC Commissioner John Norris, and Roshini Thayaparan, Legal Advisor to FERC Commissioner Marc Spitzer on April 27th at Sidley Austin at Noon. During this lunchtime presentation, these three successful women will share their career development paths and insight into being a successful FERC practitioner.
GEA To Hold Technology Forum – The Geothermal Energy Association will hold a one-day geothermal energy technology and international development forum” in Washington, DC on Wednesday, May 4th at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. The program will showcase geothermal projects, trends, and governmental policies in the U.S. and around the world. Topics covered will include; the geothermal market today, projects under development in the U.S. and internationally, outlook for the future of the geothermal market , jobs and money, new technologies, and federal agency support at home and abroad. There will also be a small exhibition area featuring leading companies in the geothermal energy industry. Exhibitors to date include; Emabond Solutions, Bowman Geothermal Consulting, Atlas Copco Mafi-Trench Company, LLC, Geothermal Exchange Organization (GEO), U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Commerce, and the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA). The event has been developed in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Commerce and is open to the geothermal industry. Over two-hundred industry leaders, foreign diplomats, financiers and government officials are expected to participate.
MD Gov to Address Green Building Summit – The US Green Building Council will hold its annual Government Summit 2011 on May 10-11 in Washington, D.C. at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. There will be many panels and speakers on energy efficient buildings and new green technologies. Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley will be a featured Keynote Speaker among many others.
WINDPOWER 2011 Set for Anaheim – WINDPOWER 2011 Conference & Exhibition is set for Anaheim, CA on May 22-25 in the Convention Center. Speakers will include Ted Turner, Jay Leno and many more. Stay tuned for more information as this gets closer.
SNL to Host Power Policy Forum – The SNL Power Policy Forum will be held on June 7th at New York's Union League Club. It will bring together panels of Washington insiders to New York to clarify and opine on Federal action in the energy sector and its impact on power companies and their investors. Key topics include the impact of primacy decisions and cost allocation on the expansion of America's transmission infrastructure; Dodd-Frank, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and energy trading; the effect on utilities and the energy chain of proposed EPA revisions to the Clean Air Act; and the congressional legislative agenda under the current political regime. Speakers will include myself and our friends Kevin Book of ClearView Energy Partners, Jim Lucier of Capital Alpha Partners and Christine Tezak of R.W. Baird, as well as Senate Energy Republican Staff Director McKie Campbell, PJM's Craig Glazer and FERC Commissioner Phil Moeller and others.
Last Wednesday was a big milestone for people who care about public health and a livable climate. Two utilities announced the planned closure of nine coal plants.Read more ...
Today, in the UK, the world's oldest nuclear power plant shut down.Read more ...
The U.S. led the world in clean energy investment in 2011, but China retained the top spot in the latest Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index from Ernst & Young.Read more ...
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